Feldman tries to become the first Texas pitcher in more than 19 years to win seven straight away from home as he faces the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
The Rangers haven’t been to the playoffs since winning the AL West in 1999 under the late Johnny Oates. After an 11-12 start that had current manager Ron Washington’s job in jeopardy, Texas (75-58) is battling Los Angeles for the division title and Boston for the wild card.
The Rangers are beginning a six-game trip that wraps up next week against Cleveland, and they’ll give the ball to Feldman (14-4, 3.72 ERA), who leads a staff that has traditionally worn down late in the season.
The right-hander managed seven wins over four seasons coming into 2009, but has emerged as the Rangers ace. He didn’t surrender a run in his last two starts, allowing eight hits and six walks over 12 2-3 innings in road wins over Tampa Bay and Minnesota.
“He has ability, and that ability is showing up right now,” Washington said following a 3-0 victory over the Twins on Saturday.
Feldman, 6-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his previous six road outings, will look to become the first Ranger to win seven straight road decisions since Bobby Witt from June 28-Sept. 1, 1990.
Feldman is 10-1 with a 2.75 ERA in 12 starts away from Arlington this year. He earned his first road win of the season against Baltimore on April 25, allowing a run and four hits over five innings of a 6-5 victory.
Baltimore (54-80) is virtually assured of its 12th consecutive losing season. The Orioles lost their 10th straight to the New York Yankees on Wednesday, falling 10-2 for their third loss in a row overall.
Baltimore gave up seven runs in ninth inning.
“It was a game until the ninth, then it got away,” said manager Dave Trembley, whose staff has an AL-worst 5.05 ERA.
Rookie Chris Tillman(notes) (1-2, 4.24) will make his eighth start for the Orioles in the opener of this three-game set. The right-hander failed to get a decision in a 5-3 loss to Cleveland on Saturday after yielding one run over five innings.
Tillman won’t have to face one of the Rangers’ best players and may avoid another Texas slugger who is injured and slumping.
Third baseman Michael Young(notes) is expected to miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. The three-time All-Star leads Rangers starters with a .322 batting average and is fourth with 22 homers.
Texas also could be without Josh Hamilton(notes), who has a pinched nerve in his back. Hamilton, who has played in 87 games this year due to a strained rib cage muscle and abdominal surgery, batted .207 over his last eight contests.
The Orioles will be without center fielder Adam Jones(notes) for perhaps the rest of the season after he suffered a severely sprained left ankle in a 9-6 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday. Jones is batting .277 with 19 homers and 70 RBIs.
Baltimore dropped three of four to Texas at Camden Yards in April.